**Sorry – the videos aren’t playing, so I’ve replaced them with stills**.
As the fosters continued to grow, playing in their bathroom and then their bedroom, I ordered a couple of special toys for the big kitties to keep them out of mischief. The first was the Maclaw Wheel.
I was prompted to investigate a cat wheel because of Pip. A kind and gentle kitty, Pip had an abundance of energy, and burning it off sometimes involved a little rough play. He wasn’t mean or bullying, just very energetic. There was lots of galloping around the apartment but I worried about what went on in the kitties’ room at night.
After investigating wheels extensively, I came to the conclusion that the well made ones were too expensive to buy, and way too expensive to ship to me in the Philippines. I found an excellent forum based in Hong Kong by a lady designing a wheel, and she had researched the optimum diameter, tread width and tread materials. From there I found a couple of You Tube videos that showed how to make a wheel, so with a few minor tweaks, I came up with a design that could be made locally.
With some recommendations, I found two carpenters who were prepared to make a wheel for me. The first quote came in at more expensive than to buy one, which I wasn’t expecting, and the other was perfectly reasonable, and – to my delight – it would be ready in a week! Well a week passed, then two weeks, then four weeks and still no wheel. Each time I followed up, there were excuses and delays and problems. Eventually I requested the half-finished wheel to be delivered as is, and I would figure out how to get it finished. The wheel arrived and I was horrified. Not only were all the materials poor quality, second-hand, rusted or damaged, but the wheel had been left out in the rain so the shape was considerably warped. It was useless, good only for scrap.
After such a disappointing experience, I was determined to have a wheel, so I decided to just accept it was going to be expensive, and I purchased the Maclaw Wheel. A custom wheel could take weeks or months to make, as there were many in the queue, so I opted for a pre-made one. When it arrived at my apartment just a week or two later from the UK, Lyn and I couldn’t wait to assemble it, and we were amazed at how easy it was. From the time we got it out of the enormous box to complete assembly was probably about 10 minutes.
I often get asked if I had to train the kitties to use it – I wish I had a camera handy while we were assembling it. Pip and Asha were most curious. Maxi was watching nearby, coming for an occasional sniff. Kai was of course watching from a safe distant place. Before it was even in place, Pip was on it. He figured it out with remarkable speed, and of course Asha, always game for anything another kitty is doing, especially if it means attention, hopped on it as well. I never force a kitty to use any of their toys, and Maxi and Kai never showed an interest, but the wheel was an immediate hit with Pip and Asha.